Question regarding electroscopes

  • Thread starter evelynn
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In summary, when a charged object is brought near the plate at the top of an earthed electroscope, the leaves will move closer to each other and the excess charge will be held in place.
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evelynn
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[SOLVED] Question regarding electroscopes

I was just wondering if the leaves at the bottom of a grounded electroscope will repel when induced by a charged object, regardless of the type of charge.

I was told that if a positively charged rod was placed near a neutral electroscope, the leaves would move closer to each other. That does not make sense to me because I thought that the electrons would move towards the positive rod while the protons stay where they are (in the leaves) and the like charges would cause the leaves to move farther away from each other.

It would be greatly appreciated if someone could point me in the right direction. Thank you.
 
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  • #2
When a charged object is brought near the plate at the top of an earthed electroscope it induces an opposite charge on the plate. This excess charge is "held in place" by the proximity of the charged object. The rest of the electroscope need not hold any additional excess charge since the Earth can absorb or supply such required charge. So the leaves will be down while the induction is in progress. The excess charge will also be held in place when the Earth is removed by the charged object so the leaves will remain down and will only raise when the charged object is removed and the excess charge redistributes throughout the electroscope.

http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/gbssci/phys/Class/estatics/estaticstoc.html"
 
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  • #3
Thank you for the the explanation, but I have another question to ask. What happens to the leaves of a charged electroscope if another charged object is held near the knob? If the electroscope is charged positively and a negatively charged object is held near the plate, then I think the leaves would be down because the electrons would travel towards the leaves, neutralizing the effects of the protons. And if the charged object is positive, then the leaves would raise because the electrons would travel towards the positively charged object, leaving behind the protons which repel each other.
Sorry for asking so many questions, but I'm just not sure if my train of thought is correct.
 
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  • #4
Correct. A negatively charged object will push some excess electrons away from the knob towards the leaves. This will decrease the amount of positive charge on them causing them to go down. A positively charged object will pull some excess electrons up towards the knob thereby increasing the amount of positive charge at the bottom and causing the leaves to raise even further.
 
  • #5
Thank you very much for your help.
 

Related to Question regarding electroscopes

1. What is an electroscope and how does it work?

An electroscope is a scientific instrument used to detect and measure electric charges. It typically consists of a metal rod with a freely moving metal plate at the top, called a leaf. When an object with an electric charge is brought close to the electroscope, the leaf will either repel or attract, indicating the presence and type of charge.

2. What are the different types of electroscopes?

There are two main types of electroscopes: the pith ball electroscope and the gold-leaf electroscope. The pith ball electroscope uses a small, lightweight ball made of a lightweight material like pith or cork, while the gold-leaf electroscope uses a thin piece of gold leaf as the indicator.

3. How do you charge an electroscope?

An electroscope can be charged by rubbing a charged object against the metal rod or by touching the metal rod to a charged object. This transfers the charge to the electroscope, causing the leaf to move.

4. Can an electroscope be used to measure the amount of charge?

Yes, an electroscope can be used to measure the amount of charge on an object. By observing the angle of deflection of the leaf, the amount of charge on the object can be estimated. However, this method is not very accurate and is mainly used for qualitative measurements.

5. What are some applications of electroscopes?

Electroscopes have various applications in scientific experiments and demonstrations. They can be used to detect and measure electric charges, determine the conductivity of materials, and demonstrate the principles of electrostatics. They are also used in high-voltage testing and for detecting ionizing radiation.

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